Set in 1940s London, during the Second World War and its aftermath, THE NIGHT WATCH follows the intertwined lives and relationships of a number of characters, revealing how the war has changed each of them. Through air raids, blacked-out streets, illicit partying and sexual adventure, we follow the story of three women and one man and their love affairs. Kay, after an intense career driving ambulances through the Blitz, now exists in a loveless limbo, her only pleasure the predatory pursuit of younger women. Helen lives with her lover Julia, but is secretly jealous of everyone and everything that might take Julia away from her, including Julia’s past. Her friend Viv harbours secrets, too: losses, grief , an unhappy affair with a married man. And Viv’s enigmatic brother Duncan is trying to make a new life for himself, after his time spent in prison for his part in a tragic affair that is revealed to us only at the end of the novel.
With vividly drawn, cleverly plotted, and carefully nuanced stories, Sarah Waters brings the same spectacular narrative gifts to THE NIGHT WATCH that have marked her three previous novels.
"Magnificent… Has she pulled it off? Yes, brilliantly. The period detail never overwhelms the simple, passionate human story. It's a tour-de-force of hints, clues and dropped threads." - Suzi Feay, The Independent
"Wonderfully original and touching. Magically convincing… The dialogue is beautifully judged, and discreetly virtuosic. THE NIGHT WATCH is a truthful, lovely book that needs no conjuring tricks to make you want to read it again." - Phillip Hensher, The Observer
"THE NIGHT WATCH leaves you with the sense of having read something rich and complex pared down with consummate skill by a first-class storyteller into a series of deceptively simple tales about love. Which is a fancy way of saying that Sarah Waters's latest offering lingers on, long after the final page and its first, most fateful meeting." - Melanie McGrath, Evening Standard
"A stunning achievement... Waters's meticulous research drops the reader, emotionally and physically, into the maelstrom of the London Blitz... A really wonderful treatise on the fragility of love and the ephemerality of happiness." - John Harding, Daily Mail
"This outstandingly gifted novelist releases her imagination into her most compelling depiction yet of women's struggles for various kinds of liberation." - Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
"Masterly, impeccably researched... It is from the reverse structure that the novel gains its haunting power, forcing the reader to experience time not as an ongoing narrative but as memory... On reaching the end of the novel, it is impossible not to start again at the beginning." - Carol Anne Duffy, Telegraph
"Sarah Waters writes exhilaratingly about lesbian love and behaviour. This is a tremendously confident foray into realism... THE NIGHT WATCH is sharply and compassionately observed, richly coloured, and compelling to read." - Michele Roberts, The Independent
"Waters' portrait of London under attack is superb... Her ability to bring the times to life is stunning... Waters is an author to cherish, and this is probably her finest achievement yet."- - Justine Jordan, Guardian
"It reads as utterly new and fresh and urgent, both in what it says and the way it says it. It's a work of great beauty and authority and sympathetic imagination." - Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
"Waters really proves her genius with plot." - Sunday Telegraph
"Masterly... delightful... tremendously vivid... Waters is a cracking storyteller." - Tatler